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Subject Differential effects of supervisor support on transfer of training (Netherlands)
> Outine of presentation by Derk-Jan J M Nijman
Discussion David Silbergh
    I was just wondering if you could cast some light on the importance of formal learning outcomes. You mentioned yourself that you found it surprising that they had such a strong effect; I was quite surprised to see this as well. Why do you think that is, because people get pay increases or promotional opportunities?

Derk-Jan J.M. Nijman
    The easy explanation is that those who haven't learned couldn't transfer. What was also a remarkable finding was that learning also had a strong effect on the trainee's motivation to transfer. That was perhaps even more surprising than its effect on transfer outcomes. Trainees who believed for themselves that they had learned more were also more motivated to use that learning.

Sabine Manning
    What about the context of training: you briefly talked about the design, but does the Dutch context come into this at all? Or would your study compare directly with a study of a similar design carried out in Britain or France or anywhere else? Did you specify in your investigation what kind of training the trainees had undergone?

Derk-Jan J.M. Nijman
    In fact, for each of the four training programmes which we included in the study we made different questionnaires, so the learning and transfer outcomes were really based on these training programmes.

Sabine Manning
    And the literature which you evaluated in your study - did they go into any national specifications or were they just based on the Dutch context, taking this for granted?

Derk-Jan J.M. Nijman
    There was very little, I only found one or two Dutch studies, most in the theory part was American or English literature.

Teresa M. Palmer
    I think the trainees perceive training very differently today than the way they did 30 or 40 years ago. There's really an economic climate of the last five to eight years - I don't know about the Netherlands, certainly in the United States - it's much more competitive and much less assured that you keep your job. so if you go to training you will be expected to show something, or if you fail to, in the next round of cuts, you may be out of employment.

Derk-Jan J.M. Nijman
    What I can say is that most of these organisations were willing to cooperate in our research because they didn't do any kind of transfer measuring. So what they wanted to know was whether these training programmes were actually effective. I was able to offer a little bit of insight, but I don't really imagine these trainees will be judged by the extent to which they applied what they had learned - they more or less were expected to take part in the training programme without looking at actual differences in job performance.

Source Recording of discussion at the HRD conference in Leeds, May 2005 (see proceedings).
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Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO